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XIST4 Transistor Test Procedure Copyright 2003 Kilowatt Classroom, LLC.

An ohmmeter can be used to test the base-to-emitter PN junction and the base-to-collector PN junction of a bipolar
junction transistor in the same way that a diode is tested. You can also identify the polarity (NPN or PNP) of an
unknown device using this test. In order to do this you will need to be able to identify the emitter, base, and col-
lector leads of the transistor. Refer to a semiconductor data reference manual if you are not sure of the lead iden-
tification. Note: While this test can be used to determine that the junctions are functional and that the transistor is
not open or shorted, it will not convey any information about the common emitter current gain (amplification fac-
tor) of the device. A special transistor tester is required to measure this parameter known as the Hfe or Beta. .

TPI 183 Digital Multimeter PNP Test Procedure

• Connect the meter leads with the


polarity as shown and verify that
PNP Transistor the base-to-emitter and base-to-
Simplified Diagram collector junctions read as a for-
COLLECTOR
ward biased diode: 0.5 to 0.8
VDC.

• Reverse the meter connections to


the transistor and verify that both
Select P PN junctions do not conduct.
Diode Meter should indicate an open
circuit. (Display = OUCH or OL.)
BASE N
• Finally read the resistance from
P emitter to collector and verify an
open circuit reading in both direc-
tions. (Note: A short can exist
from emitter to collector even if
the individual PN junctions test
EMITTER
properly.)

TPI 183 Digital Multimeter NPN Test Procedure

• Connect the meter leads with the


polarity as shown and verify that
the base-to-emitter and base-to-
NPN Transistor collector junctions read as a for-
Simplified Diagram ward biased diode: 0.5 to 0.8
VDC.
COLLECTOR

• Reverse the meter connections to


the transistor and verify that both
Application Note

Select PN junctions do not conduct.


Diode N Meter should indicate an open
circuit. (Display = OUCH or OL.)
BASE P • Finally read the resistance from
emitter to collector and verify an
N open circuit reading in both direc-
tions. (Note: A short can exist
from emitter to collector even if
AN0007

the individual PN junctions test


properly.)
EMITTER